I am a worrier by nature. While I realize that this is not the most advantageous trait, I am fully aware of my tendencies. During the day I'm able to keep my thoughts in check, but at night when the house is quiet and still, my mind runs wild.
I worry about Robby, Scott,
my family and friends, my mothering abilities, and work. When I have
fully exhausted every "what if" scenario, I often begin to extend my
fret circle to include people whom I have never met. Lately I have been
investing an inordinate amount of time and have lost a great deal of
much needed sleep mulling over the resurgence of amputation as
Several weeks ago an acquaintance on Facebook posted a
video on my wall with a simple question, "Hey Peggy, what do you think
of this?" Stupidly I clicked the link and watched. The video was grainy
and it took several seconds before I could gain my bearings. The video
showed a man, blindfolded by a black cloth, standing in the center of a
town square. In front of the man was a table with a red object, which I
wish I had identified in time. It wasn't until his hand was pushed under
it did I realize that it was a table saw. By the time I realized what
was occurring in the video, it was already too late. If I could go back
in time and erase an image from my mind, this one would certainly top
The horrific image of a penal-imposed amputation has
haunted me. I wake up with my heart racing out of fear and anger. Since
viewing the video I have stumbled upon numerous news articles detailing
the reintroduction of amputation in the form of "justice." In countries
where doctors are bravely refusing to remove the healthy limb, judges
are being ordered to become proficient with amputation to carry out the
sentence and the physicians are being jailed. Despite world-wide outcry
(which is uncomfortably muffled from our citizens), the incidents of
penal imposed amputation are rising. The fact that we are in 2013 and
still this barbaric form of punishment is in use astounds me.
I find myself trying to employ logic with something grossly illogical.
Reading the accounts of young men (and some women) losing healthy
appendages for minor shoplifting offenses, I feel utterly helpless. The
world seems so skewed it frightens me.
The news accounts of the
penal-imposed amputations reminded me of a young lady with albinism from
Tanzania. In another illogical nightmare, individuals with albinism are
hunted for their limbs in Tanzania. Witch Doctors in the remote village
tout magical powers from the bones of an Albino. This brave young
mother was pulled from her home in the middle of the night and both arms
were hacked off with a machete. Miraculously, she survived the attack.
years ago my prosthetist Elliot learned of her plight and invited her
to the United States. He donated both his time and the materials
necessary to build her prosthetic arms. Local physical and occupational
therapists donated countless hours teaching her how to function with the
prosthetics. Similar to the recent amputations for "criminal" offenses,
this young mom has haunted me. I often wondered what became of her
after she returned to Tanzania.
Last week I learned that she
moved from her village into a city so she will not longer be prey for
the Witch Doctors. She still uses her prosthetics and has begun a small
business sewing goods for export. She now employs nine other people who
have varying degrees of disability. Simply put, she is happy and she is
Learning about her successes my heart began to lighten.
I feel so overwhelmed thinking about all of the travesties in the
world. I needed to be reminded, in a concrete way, that one person can
indeed make a huge difference. Elliot didn't know her, but his talents
and big heart changed not only her life but the lives of her children
and her employees. I think I need to stop trying to change the world. I
know I won't be able to stop the judicial imposed amputations, but maybe
by writing about it I can help draw more attention to the issue.